The announced crowd for the Cincinnati game was 33,802. In reality, the chances that the stadium was even at 30K seemed implausible. Considering this was a game where tickets were selling for as low as $10 and every, single Syracuse student could get in free...well, to say that I was flabbergasted would be to sell it short.
So before we get to what happened during the game, let's discuss the crowd itself. First and foremost...the students.
I feel like a broken record here but I want to make the SU students who did show and have shown up all season long are to be commended for it and their efforts are appreciated by the players and fans like myself.
NOW, as for the rest of the Syracuse student population...you guys are awful. I don't mean that in a tongue-in-cheek way. I'm not saying it with a wink. You are a horrible student populous. You might be the worst in the nation among BCS teams. To any seniors who haven't attended a game this year, good riddance. To any juniors, sophomores or freshman who haven't attended a game this year...please don't purchase student tickets next year. We don't want you at the games. We'll gladly hold those spaces for the incoming freshman who haven't been tainted by your apathy.
Oh, you have excuses? Don't give a shit. "But it's six games in a row." That's amazing, how is that not a good thing? "But it's Halloween..." Didn't seem to stop every other student section from getting reasonably filled. "But it's at noon." Shut up. "But I knew we'd lose." Guess what, we hung with the No. 5 team in the nation for a reasonable amount of time and you've seen enough out of this team this year to know they've got it in them.
There will come a time, years from now, when you will look back on your time at Syracuse and realize how you wasted such a great opportunity. To have been part of something fun and exciting and compelling and to have a little faith that something great could happen. You'll wonder what the point was of going to a school like Syracuse. You might as well have gone to community college and saved the money.
I'm done wasting my time writing about it. You guys suck.
So let's discuss the crowd that was on hand. Unless there was a guy playing for the Orange with the nickname Boo, Orange fans decided to break out the old boo birds. And they directed them squarely at Greg Paulus' ears.
NOW, I'm all for getting emotionally into the game. I'm all for making your presence felt and making lots of noise. You should be standing. You should be yelling. You should not be doing the wave. You should be getting involved directly in the game. You should get animated. You should get frustrated. You should voice your concerns.
But you can't boo our guys. You just can't. Come on now...
Paulus just doesn't have the stuff we want. That's clear. And it becomes even clearer when compared to Nassib, who seems to have a better arm and more presence in the pocket. For whatever reason, Marrone wants to stick with what he's got and that means Paulus is the "starter."
I have absolutely no doubt that Paulus is playing to the best of his abilities. That's not to say we should all be happy about it when he throws an INT or the offense stalls. Far from it. But...come on, now. What does booing him do? Do you think he's going to run over to the sidelines and tell Nassib to go in for him cause he feels bad?
Syracuse Nation appreciates all of you who showed up at the game but for those who booed...no. You're better than that.
For their parts, Nassib and Paulus take the high road together.
"Once you’re in the heat of the heat of the moment, you don’t really notice that," said Nassib
"We have some great fans, some passionate fans," said Paulus
Cody Catalina was probably the most frank about the booing and his comments should be appreciated:
"It’s tough not only on Greg but on the team," Catalina said. "You want the fans to back what you’re doing. Even if they don’t agree with what’s going on, you’d like a little more support. At the same time, everyone has their own opinion. We’ve just got to go out and play. Whoever’s on the field, we’re going to play hard with and we’re all going to come together and play."
Here's some comments on the issue from the Syracuse.com folks. I think you'll notice a pattern.
Booing Greg Paulus? REALLY? You stay classy, SU fans.
What exactly was the point of that? It is one thing if you want to call a talk show, get on a message board, or criticize Paulus' play before or after the game in any format of your choice.
That is absolutely fair game.
To boo one of your own players during the game and then cheer when the other QB comes in, and to do it over and over? Explain that one to me.
Simply, we make for one weird football town. Or wait. Maybe we’re just a bad one. Because even though this Syracuse club, under first-year coach Doug Marrone, is clearly improved over its immediate forebears, it has hardly been embraced, failing to draw as many as 41,000 in any game beyond the opener and averaging just 37,828 in that six-game Dome stand just completed.
By now it has become clear that his team is limited in critical areas such as the offensive line, cornerback and perhaps quarterback and lacks quality depth just about everywhere. It will be his job to address those concerns in the off-season. In the meantime, though, his Orange goes out and plays hard, physical football each and every game and has shown no evidence of throwing in the towel.